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The Corleone Family

Don Vito Corleone

The patriarch of the Corleones. One of Marlon Brando's most famous roles. Part II depicts his rise to Don in the early 1900s through flashbacks, in which he is played by Robert De Niro.

Part I

Part II

Michael Corleone

The youngest child of the family. He doesn't want to join the family business. When Sollozzo and McCluskey makes another attempt on his father's life, he is forced to join the family business and kills them. He becomes the new Don at the end of the movie. By the second movie, Michael becomes a full-fledged ruthless Don. In the third movie, he strives to stay legitimate, but his past finally catches up. He ultimately fails, with tragic consequences. Played by Al Pacino in all three films.

Part I

Part II

  • Byronic Hero
  • Cain and Abel - with Fredo. As the film goes on they swap roles- Fredo becomes less Cain and more Abel, and Michael less Abel and more Cain, then even more Cain still by having Fredo killed.
  • Lonely At the Top
  • Kiss of Death - after he finds out that Fredo betrayed him
  • Motive Decay: It's become less about the welfare of his family and more about the welfare of the family business; and by the end of the film the greatest enemy of Michael's family is clearly Michael himself.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy
  • Villain Protagonist - Started out pretty heroic in Part I, but he's solidly villainous in Part II.

Part III


Sonny Corleone

The eldest child of the family and the hothead. Played by James Caan.

Fredo Corleone

The middle child of the family. He is the stupid one. "Fredo" has now become shorthand for "weak link". Played by John Cazale.

  • Badass Decay: In the book only, we are Informed that Fredo was a tough guy who just took his eye off the ball during the attempted assassination of Vito and Decayed after running the Family business in Vegas for a long time. None of this shows up in the movies, where he comes across as an incompetent boob. Given that Fredo's toughness was certainly an informed ability, perhaps that was for the best.
  • Bad Liar: He reveals himself as The Mole by pretending in front of Michael that he's never met Johnny Ola and then, hours later at most, blithely shouting that it was Johnny Ola who told him about the sex show. If he ever figures out how he gave it away, we don't see when. An almost comical example happens earlier: in bed with his wife, he answers the phone to have a whispered conversation full of lines like "You guys lied to me!" and then, when she asks who it was, just says, "Wrong number."
  • Butt Monkey
  • Cain and Abel - with Michael. Ironically, after Michael has Fredo killed Michael remembers how Fredo was the only one who spoke up for Michael's decision to drop out of college and join the Marines.
  • Heel Face Turn: He knows he screwed up in betraying Michael to Hyman Roth, and tries to earn forgiveness during the later half of Part II. He's even seen being genuinely kind to his nephew Anthony as the two work on fishing in Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, Michael is NOT in the mood to forgive anyone this time...
  • Henpecked Husband: To Deanna in Part II.
  • Kavorka Man: Nowhere near as Badass as Sonny, and definitely not as smart as Michael, but Moe Green complains that he's "banging cocktail waitresses, two at a time". In the novel, it's stated that this fact greatly displeased Don Vito, as the Don was always very straitlaced about sex.
  • Lawful Stupid Chaotic Stupid
  • The Resenter: Though he never showed any real aptitude for the family business, he gets sick of being treated as a gofer and an errand boy, while his younger brother becomes the Don. This leads him to his ill-fated deal with Hyman Roth.

  "Send Fredo off to do this, send Fredo off to do that! Let Fredo take care of some Mickey-Mouse nightclub somewhere! Send Fredo to pick somebody up at the airport! I'm your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over!"

  • The Unfavorite - By the second movie he's developed a complex over this.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy - Tries everything he can to please Michael, but it just doesn't work out.


Vincent "Vinnie" Mancini-Corleone

Sonny's illegitimate son. He is a hothead like his father. Played by Andy Garcia.

Mary Corleone

The youngest of Michael's children. Played by Sofia Coppola, in a very controversial cast decision, though in truth she was just a last-minute replacement and only took the part reluctantly.

Tom Hagen

An orphaned childhood friend of Sonny´s who gets unofficially adopted by Don Vito. He´s the family´s lawyer and Consigliere.


The Corleone Crime Family

Capo Peter Clemenza

  • Acrofatic: Both the book and the film show him as a surprisingly agile dancer at the Corleone wedding.
  • Affably Evil: To his friends and associates, Clemenza's regarded as a friendly, jovial kind of guy, always happy to talk and always happy to share his tales of the good old days.
  • Big Fun
  • The Big Guy: As a Capo of the family, he takes a direct role in controlling the movements of the family soldiers; for good measure, he's occasionally called upon to act as a hitman.
  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dialogue in the second film implies that he died of a heart attack between movies.
  • Fat Bastard: Has a reputation for violent, ruthless tactics in gang wars.
  • The Mentor: According to the book, he taught Sonny how to fight and kill, though he was a bit disappointed that Sonny never showed any particular liking for the garotte. In both the film and the book, he also advises Michael on carrying out the killing of Solozzo and McClusky.
  • Red Oni: To Tessio's blue.

Capo Salvatore Tessio

  • BlueOni: The Blue to Clemenza's red.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Once it's clear that he can't talk his way out of his execution, he calmly and willingly steps into the car without another word of protest.
  • Lean and Mean
  • The Mole
  • Nothing Personal: After being discovered as Don Barzini's mole in the Corleone family, he explains that nothing about his betrayal was personal.
  • The Smart Guy: Considered the smarter of the two Caporegimes, and usually makes the tactical decisions of the Family soldiers.

Other Crime Bosses

Hyman Roth

Joey Zasa

Don Altobello

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